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Analysis

Catering for the Mexican Oil and Gas Industry

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 13:20

Although hiring and retaining well-trained personnel is widely recognized as an important success factor, the importance of keeping employees satisfied and ablebodied might be overlooked at times. Increasingly, the choice of a healthy diet is considered an untapped opportunity to secure additional productivity from the workforce. A lack of nutrients can result in people working at a fraction of their capacity and reduce output on the job, while concentration lapses can in turn a†ect safety performance. In the long term, poor dietary choices not only lead to reduced functionality but also are a primary source of weight gain and related health problems, which in turn results in ine·cient circulation that ultimately causes increased fatigue and a†ects productivity

Mexican companies in the oil and gas industry are gradually moving from hiring catering services simply to meet their workers’ daily calorie needs, to providing a balanced diet for their employees in order to optimize productivity. “The main challenge is to look for healthy and nutritious diets at a reasonably low cost; the same cost at which fast food might be acquired,” Fausto Muñíz Patiño, President of Grupo PAE, the umbrella company for Contempo. “It is all about bringing quality food to the place where employees operate, taking care of their productivity and economy.”

The provision of healthy diets has become a trend in the industry to keep operational downtime referring to employees’ wellness to a minimum. The requirements have to be in line with food industry regulations regarding health and safety practices. “Today, food has to be ready on time, with good flavor and presentation, as well as with certain nutritional requirements,” Muñíz Patiño describes. “Food quality is primarily dependent on the production and packaging processes, and logistics,” adds Marcelino González Yáñez, CEO of Catering & Hospitality Services Mexico (CHS). “Using the correct infrastructure for storage and transportation is crucial to prolong the expiration date of provisions and keep food fresh. The challenge, however, lies in managing the chain from the product acquisition, its careful preparation, the correct packaging process, and the hygienic delivery to remote locations with altered conditions,” González Yáñez says. “Currently, we are working on acquiring equipment where we can transport and prepare all types of food so the consumer has varied choices at each meal. The aim is to o†er a variety of juices, salads, and hot meals with an expiration date of 5 to 10 days so they stay fresh without conservatives, because the products are not frozen.”

However, logistics are not the only challenge catering companies are facing. Improving employee health through dietary improvements requires cultural adjustments to address widespread unhealthy eating habits that – according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – has caused 69.5% of the Mexican population aged 15 or older to be overweight or obese. “We are using color schemes to help consumers control their daily caloric intake,” González Yáñez emphasizes. “With this, each employee will be able to select a personal menu based on color quotas for calories, and be able to combine di†erent type of foods without exceeding daily calorie intake, according to body type, age, and physical exercise. To facilitate a healthy lifestyle for those seeking to improve their eating habits, we also provide other educational tools, such as software programs, that our client’s employees can use to achieve their nutrition targets. We can summarize it as a training program, and that is the added value we provide to our costumers.“

Contempo has also specialized infrastructure to provide their services in remote locations, meeting time, cost, and form requirements. “Our company has the expertise to generate alternative menus that contribute to labor productivity through smart, balanced diets that meet the necessary requirements of each operation,” Muñíz Patiño explains. “We always use local produce, and useful mobile kitchen equipment to reach remote locations, while keeping the food clean and fresh.” The operation, which can be carried all around the Mexican territory, usually begins by locating the specific zones where the food will be prepared and installing the equipment to clean and cook food. “Local cooks are hired to tropicalize flavors to the regional preferences and the company’s nutritionists organize diets to fill requirements on a 24-hour-a-day basis,” Muñíz Patiño points out.

CHS also o†ers nutritionists on a weekly or monthly basis to enhance a healthy diet culture. “Our company focuses on a top-down approach, since people in the top positions usually make the diet decisions,” González Yáñez remarks. “We provide the necessary tools to help companies supply a good diet for their workforce and maximize their operational uptime and productivity.”